Ramanathan Krishnan: I got all the Indians to Wimbledon

The moment you tell the tennis maestro that it’s been 60 years since he reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1960, words flow like a waterfall.

Former Indian tennis stalwarts Ramanathan Krishnan and son Ramesh Krishnan during the centenery celebration of Calcutta South Club in Kolkata in February 2020.   -  FILE PHOTO/ RAJEEV BHATT


Like most people of his age, Ramanathan Krishnan (83) is stuck at home, not venturing out even casually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Just like anybody else in the world I am sitting at home, watching television and movies. Due to my age I can’t afford to go out. I hope things get better soon as everybody is getting fed up,” he told Sportstar on Wednesday.

When it comes to recalling events, Krishnan truly belies his age. The moment you tell him that it’s been 60 years since he reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1960, and ask for his memories, words flow like a waterfall.

“It’s 60 years ago [but] my memories are fresh. I remember everything. I was seeded seventh for the first time. That way, I didn’t have to meet a seeded player till the quarterfinals. That was a big advantage. Also in those days, Wimbledon used to give seedings only to the top eight in a draw of 128. I lost to a better player in Neale Fraser in the last four,” said the Padma Bhushan awardee.

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Krishnan said the first two rounds in Wimbledon were tough and that helped him get back to peak form. He further said he hadn’t practiced well prior to the tournament as he was suffering from chickenpox and was forced to miss nearly two months, April and May.

"Due to chickenpox, I was quarantined for three weeks. I went to England without playing much of tennis. Actually, I practiced only for 2-3 for Queens Club, both my matches [at SW19] against John Hillebrand (Australia) and Andes Gimeno (Spain) went to five sets. I just scraped through. But that gave me confidence,” said Krishnan.

The maestro proudly said that he got the Indians to come to Wimbledon. “I remember more Indians started coming to Wimbledon courts when I was winning match after match. I saw a lot of Indian faces, Indians living in England. The Indian crowd went up in numbers. I got all the Indians to Wimbledon,” he said.

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